What Each Part Of Your Cooling System Does

Radiator The radiator is the most prominent part of the system. Coolantthat has traveled through the engine is pumped through the tubes of the radiator and is cooled off for another round. The radiator has many channels on the inside so that the coolant travels all over the place, dissipating heat at every turn. It also has lots of cooling fins on the outside. These fins increase the surface area so that even more heat can escape into the air flowing around the radiator.

Radiator Hoses: Your cooling system has a number of rubber hoses that move the fluid from one place to the other. These need to be replaced before they become brittle and cracked. Even the smallest hose can fail and leave you on the side of the road.

Water Pump The water pump does what you think it does – pumps the coolant through the system. The pump is belt driven, except in the case of some race cars that use an electric water pump. If your water pump is leaking coolant under the car, this is a heads-up to replace the water pump when you can.

Thermostat Your engine isn’t always the same temperature. When you start it on a cold morning, you want it to get warm quickly to get the emission controls working fully. If you stop in traffic, you want it to cool itself off. The thermostat controls the flow of coolant so that it cools down more or less depending on the temperature of the coolant. It rests in a housing just after the radiator bottom hose.

Electric Cooling Fan Many cars these days have an electric fan for either primary or added cooling. The fan draws air through the radiator when you aren’t moving fast enough to get things cooled down. There is often also an electric fan on the air conditioning system.

Thermo Time Switch Also known as the fan switch, this is the temperature sensor that tells the electric fan when to blow. When the coolant reaches a given temperature, the electric cooling fan switches on to draw more air through the radiator.


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